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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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movies, and how i hide from them
children of dune - leto 1
I had a cinematic epiphany. I seriously miss the old Siskell and Ebert reviews.

When as a child one has no cable, one is forced to watch some pretty disturbing things--hence there was a period of time eight to seventeenish where I conversed knowledgably on the Iran-Contra Scandal, food allergies, and the housing crisis due to being forced to watch 60 Minutes every Sunday at six. It also was my way of beating everyone at Jeapordy. I was very, very good at Jeaopordy. Even if I couldn't pronounce half my answers.

But anyway, Siskell and Ebert came on at five-thirty, and I'd sack out on the couch (as one does) and watch reviews for movies my parents would never, ever, ever let me rent.

(Up until I was twelve, my parents continued to have fairly traumatizing flashbacks of the day I accidentally watched a documentary entitled The Elephant Man. They were many years getting over it. So was I.)

(I still can't go watch it.)

Actually, I loved them for the same reason I love www.rottentomatoes.com. I love horror movies. I just cannot watch them. (Did you not read the elephant man thing above? Or any time anyone mentions The Ring in my presence?) I can read horror and I can sometimes write horror, but the visual medium I simply can't deal with. Part of this I do think is childhood conditioning, and one of the reasons that I allow Child a certain latitude in horror movie watching--to really enjoy them, you have to be afraid and somewhat desensitized, and the afraid I'm okay with, but the visual I'm very much not, and that has to start early or it's way too hard to get past it. And horror, to me, is the best plot ever. It's mythological and spiritual and has monsters and epic battles and good versus evil in the purest form (sometimes), with vampires and ghosts and werwolves and Mysterious Unknown Creatures and just--gah. Hellraiser, thick with horrific mythology and secret societies, puzzles and riddles and skinning alive, sorry, can't deal with it, dammit.

So. Siskell and Ebert, where I got the bare bones of the plot and never saw the mutilation, which was nice, because my mind is perfectly capable of creating that kind of imagery all on its own. It got me through all five Halloweens (I eventually watched Halloween and seriously, I loved that) and Friday the 13th (to be able to converse with schoolmates) and a plethera of movies I couldn't stand to see but always, always wanted to know the story. What happened, who fought what, why they fought, magic, mystery, sacrifice, intrigue, mythos. I wanted the stories.

Later, during my Stephen King formative years and the edited-for-tv-movie period (there is nothing so tragically car-accidnet-watching like a really bloody horror movie edited for TV; it's just surreal), I had a fairly happy balance of story to imagery ratio. But I still remember waiting for Siskell and Ebert to review the latest movies I'd watched as trailers, intrigued and hopeful, because they might hate it or like it, but they'd always tell me about it and even if I could never see the film, at least I'd know the story.

Rottentomatoes has a similar, though not quite the same, function. I knew Siskell and Ebert. I could predicte what they hated and what they'd like with fairly decent accuracy. Soimetimes they'd surprise me, or annoy me, or review something like The English Patient or Big Boring Meaningful Movie of Deep Meaning and I'd you know, hate the world for a while, but then they'd get over it and it would be awesome.

This is brought to you by reading Ebert's review of Seed of Chucky. If I cannot watch it, I will giggle incessantly over the reviews.

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Check out themoviespoiler.com, too. I think it'd give you just enough info for fun, without the squick.

OOh. *bookmarks* Will do!

I am exactly the same way. I'm perfectly capable of reading horror (like your SGA/SPN Big Bang x-over, for example - terrifying), but I absolutely cannot watch it. I just can't handle it. Zombies are my kryptonite - even Shaun of the Dead kept me up nights for weeks. But I love the ideas and the stories! So I tend to, like you, read reviews. Also, Wikipedia will often have lots of detailed information about the story/mythology/characters/etc. of horror movies, which is always cool to read.

Oh my God, I forgot, yes, Wikipeida is just--yes, exactly! I need to try Hellraiser there; I've been meaning to do a full search for that one forever, because so fascinating! And so cannot, cannot even *think about hard*.

..don't even start with me on zombies. I try adn then I run, run, run to hide behind teh couch. Even Dawn of the Dead! I loved it! And it kept me up for many, many nights after.

I am so glad I am not the only one with this zombie thing. I am completely fascinated by them, but even the barest mention of them freaks me right the hell out. So I always try to watch some zombie movie on TV and then still completely flip. Husband's pretty much cut me off at this point, for both my sanity and his. The only exception is the Resident Evil franchise because, well, it's just not that scary.

Sadly, I think The Beloved Hew's next script is a zombie movie...

The little girl! At the beginning! With the *rar* and the *chomp* and the *face*!

I got to see it on sneak preview, and everybody in the theater went "Oh, shit" when she jumped to her feet like that.

It was good, though. :-)

Yes! I don't know if what I feel for horror movies is love, exactly, more like a sick fascination or drawn like a moth to a flame. I guess I have a compulsion to know the story and the ending (did the good guys win? did the villian survive?), without having the shocker moments or the gore. I still have nightmares from ill-advisingly having watched "Nightmare on Elm Street" as a teen (the guy gets you in your SLEEP. How the hell do you fight that? I can skip camp, or visiting hillbilly towns, but sleep? *shudder*). Yet I will check out the backs of DVDs at the video store or Best Buy if the cover grabs my attention, even if it means I'll be jumping out of my skin the next time the house creaks at night.

Vampires? Love 'em. Werewolves? Bring them on. (Zombies and serial killers are not quite the draw for me -- I think it's a fantasy-vs.-scifi bias or something -- but I'll still want to know the story.)

I miss Sunday afternoons with Siskel and Ebert, too. It was part of a big PBS block of "This Old House" and something else, where my family would gather and watch all together. *sigh* Those were the days.

The fake violence of horror movies I can handle okay (I remember watching Flowers in the Attic at about age 10 and not being bothered by it at al), but I can't handle real life violence on things like nature shows (whenever the eagle got a little too close to the bunny, I'd run from the room and hide until I was good and sure that the scene was over).

Texual horror is way scarier for me, and I admit to being a huge wimp and not being able to read it right before bed *shivers*

If you can't handle Hellraiser, would you consider reading "The Hellbound Heart," the novella the movie was based on? If I recall correctly, it was fairly graphic and creepy.

OMG Husband was just (yesterday) - once again - teasing me about my total inablity to watch horror. I can't do it and it isn't just the onscreen gore of Halloween et al that I can't cope with but good old House of Hammer type stuff as well - with them it's the scary music UM.

On the plus side when invited to friends to supposedly *watch* Nightmare on Elm Street and the like it was often the best looking guy in the room would let me and totally-as-freaked-out friend hide behind him :D

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